Genesis Chapter Three

The End Of Innocence

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In our study of Genesis chapter three, we look at the end of innocence and the origin of sin. Innocence is the ignorance of the existence of evil and we shall see the effects on all of creation when this is lost. This study contains the biblical account of the separation of man from the presence of God.

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Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which ADONAI, God, had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You are not to eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The Hebrew word "arum" is translated here as crafty while the plural from of the word (arummin) was used to describe the humans in the last verse of chapter 2 where it was translated as "naked". This is an example of wordplay where the same word is used multiple times in close proximity to convey different meanings and it is used often in the Torah. Here, we see a different kind of creature enter the picture as we are told that the serpent wasn't like wild animals in the fact that it was devious (crafty). In chapter one, we saw that, after God created all of the creatures, He said that it was good which is the opposite of devious so that brings up the question of how the creature became crafty, devious, or bad. Jesus gives us the answer to that question, in Luke 10:18, when He says "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of demons and evil spirits living in bodies of people and animals and this is just the first case of it that we are introduced to as Satan was controlling the actions of this serpent. We see that Satan was able to use a snake to talk to the woman and to introduce doubt and deception. The devil twisted the words of God and used this method to introduce the temptation to doubt the very words of God. This is the same method that was used to tempt Jesus (see Matthew 4) and it is the same technique that is used on us today. That is why studying the Torah and growing in our faith is so important for us even today.

Genesis 3:2 & 3

The woman answered the serpent, "We may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, 'You are neither to eat from it nor touch it, or you will die.'"

We see from this passage the danger in ignorance of the Word of God. We must remember that the woman was not there when God gave the instructions to the man. There can only be two reasons for the words of the woman in this passage; either the man had not properly told the woman the exact instructions from God or the woman willingly changed them. You see, there were two trees in the center of the garden and God did not say that they could not touch either one of them and God only said that they were not to eat the fruit of one of them. Whether the woman added this on her own or she was wrongly taught by Adam, we do not know. The devil knew where to attack and tempted the woman because she had not directly heard the words of God. This also should be a reminder to us that it is always best to go back to the original words of God and not what someone, even a pastor, tells us is the word of God. (That is why we are using the CJB version here as it is the closest thing that we have to the Hebrew scrolls.)

Genesis 3:4 & 5

The serpent said to the woman, "It is not true that you will surely die; because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The devil used the ignorance of God's word to cast doubt on its truth. We see his method in doing this is to use half-truths which, in fact, are nothing but disguised lies. Satan makes the woman focus on the one thing that God said they could not have instead of the vast amount of things that were freely given to them in the garden. God's motive is questioned as the devil makes it seem like God was trying to keep something good from the woman instead of keeping something that would not be good for them away. Many, today, have tried to make it seem like this was some grand test designed by God and that He was just waiting for man to fail but that is not so. In giving Adam and Eve this simple rule, He was trying to keep them from the burden of struggling with evil. Satan uses the same methods to attack us in that, he tries to get us to worry about what we don't have instead of praising and thanking God for what we do have.

Genesis 3:6

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate.

In this verse we are given three reasons that Havah (Eve) wanted to eat the fruit but the main reason was that she wanted to be wise (chakam in Hebrew). The Hebrew word for wisdom is chokmah and it is the ability to judge correctly based on knowledge. In the previous passage we saw the serpent question the motive of God in not allowing them to eat the fruit from this tree but, through our understanding of chokmah, we can clearly see that what God was doing was trying to keep them from bearing the burden of knowledge and losing their innocence. We see this concept is what King Solomon said when he tried to understand wisdom. His conclusion was that "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief" (see Ecclesiastes 1:18). We often think of Eve going behind Adam's back and eating the fruit and tricking him into eating some. Here, we see that Adam was with her when she ate and wonder why he did not even try to stop her. This origination of sin has often been laid at the feet of Eve, but, Adam could have stopped her.

Genesis 3:7

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths.

Their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. In simple terms, when they ate the fruit from the tree, they gained knowledge but not wisdom because wisdom is an attribute of God and can only be given by God. God is the only one that can judge correctly 100% of the time and so the people were not equipped to handle the knowledge. Instead of stopping to face the consequences of their actions, they chose to make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves. Throughout the Bible, we will see that figs and fig trees are a symbol of safety and security.

Genesis 3:8

They heard the voice of ADONAI, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of ADONAI, God, among the trees in the garden.

Until now, when I read this verse, I got the picture of God strolling through the garden and the man and woman hiding from Him but that is not what it actually says. It could be understood that the people were walking in the garden and, while they were walking, they heard the voice of God. However it actually happened, they heard God and decided to hide from Him. You see, they knew that they did not belong in the presence of God anymore as they knew they were guilty of doing evil.

Genesis 3:9

ADONAI, God, called to the man, "Where are you?"

God knows everything, so, why would He ask this question of Adam? It was so that Adam could realize what he was doing. He had gone from walking in the garden with the Creator of the universe to crouching behind a bush in a very short time.

Genesis 3:10

He answered, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself."

The fruit that they had eaten opened their eyes to sin and so, with that knowledge came fear. They realized that they no longer belonged in the presence of God and so they tried to hide. The same thing happens to many people today as they try to hide from God because they do not understand His mercy and grace. Because of the fact that Jesus paid our penalty for sin with His very blood, we belong in the presence of God once again.

Genesis 3:11-13

He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat? The man replied, "The woman you gave to be with me - she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." ADONAI, God, said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me, so I ate."

In this passage, we get to see a conversation between God, Adam, & Eve. We see that Adam & Eve's answer to why they disobeyed God was to point the finger at others. Adam points the finger at God Himself for providing the woman and the woman for causing him to sin. The woman blames the serpent instead of taking responsibility. The simple fact of the matter is that they were both presented with a choice and they both chose to disobey God. We cannot be too hard in our judgment of them because many times we do the same thing. Instead of simply admitting that we have sinned and resting in God's grace, we often will try to justify our actions and blame them on others. We also give Satan (the serpent) too much credit and power instead of relying on the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Genesis 3:14 & 15

ADONAI, God, said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live. I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."

Sin had its penalty for all that were involved. For the serpent (snake), it meant being cursed forever and evidently this snake had legs before it was sentenced to crawl on its belly. This judgment also contains the prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ as it describes the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. That was accomplished with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ as He defeated sin, Satan (the head of the serpent), and death. We also see that Satan (the serpent) is able to strike at the feet of man and this speaks to the fact that he will try to make you stumble in your walk with the Lord. But, we can rest assured in the power of Jesus Christ to preserve us with His care.

Genesis 3:16

To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you."

For the woman, this sin had two consequences. The first was that giving birth would be more painful and it is a reminder of the love that God had for them. A woman will go through pregnancy and the pain of childbirth because of the love for the child within her. God knew from the beginning that Adam and Eve were going to sin and yet He still loved them and created them. The second consequence was that the man would "rule" over her. Some have taken this to mean that the man has the authority to treat her like a lesser person but that is not what it is talking about. The woman made a very bad decision in listening to the serpent and so the man was given the authority and the responsibility to lead and guide her to keep her safe.

Genesis 3:17-19

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, 'You are not to eat from it,' the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground - for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust."

For man, the consequence of sin was a lifetime of working for food. In the garden, Adam could just go to the tree when he got hungry and eat. Now, he would have to work the fields and provide for his own food. The ground itself was cursed and produced weeds which made the work that much harder. The good news is that, in the new heaven and earth, we will be able to go to the tree when we are hungry and eat once again through the provision of God.

Genesis 3:20

The man called his wife Havah, because she was the mother of all living.

Havah (Eve) means "living" and Adam gave her that name because all of mankind is descended from her (them). This is the greatest reason in the world why there should not be such a thing as racism and discrimination. We are all related in a way; So, how can we hate our relatives?

Genesis 3:21

ADONAI, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

God demonstrates His love for them (and us) in that He made clothes for them. He did this because He loved them so much that He did not want them to be ashamed of their bodies. To make the clothes out of skins, blood had to be shed as the animals had to die. This was a picture of the sacrifices that were to come under the Jewish Law as well as a picture of the perfect sacrifice which is Jesus Christ. We notice that God made the clothes for them instead of telling them to do so for themselves. This is a reminder that salvation does not come from our work but is a gift from God.

Genesis 3:22

ADONAI, God, said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever -"

After the sin, God had to act to prevent man from living forever in the fallen state. He says, here, that He could not allow the fallen man to also eat from the tree of life but the reason for this is not another punishment. The reason that Adam and Eve could not be allowed to eat from the tree of life is that they would be trapped in the effects of their sin forever.

Genesis 3:23 & 24

therefore ADONAI, God, sent him out of the garden of 'Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of 'Eden the k'ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

Many see this as a continuation of the punishment of God for their sin but it is not. In the previous passages, God issued the punishments but now they are sent from the garden out of love. The simple fact is that most people want to live forever and would have tried to get to the tree of life to make that happen. God, because of His love for us, sent them away from there and put a guard on duty to keep this from happening. This was necessary to keep man from living forever with the effects of sin.

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